Toe-tally Unnecessary

Poor Tweed.

Tweed has always been kind to his body.

He is not an aggressive chewer, and he doesn’t run face first into stuff, so he still has all his teeth, intact and virtually unworn.  Unlike some of my other dogs.

He does not (unless terriers bodyslam him) fall down, not even in his enthusiasm to get stuff, so no back problems (*coughWOOTIEcough*).

He has never tried to defy gravity

nor take unnecessary risks with his well being.

It is therefore cruelly ironic that Tweed, who has traveled wisely through so many years of his life, is tormented by his own feet.

First there was the sesamoid disease and the painful prolotherapy on both his bloody feet, one year after another (although prolotherapy gave him magical, Regionals winning super powers).  Now he has tumour toe.  Or some kind of growth on his outermost front left food toe, right at the nail bed.  A month ago it was diagnosed as an injury to the nail bed and an infection, but on re-examination, it is growing, it is vascular and if you try to poke it with a needle to get a cell sample, Tweed will EAT YOUR FACE.

As I am posting this, I am anxiously waiting for the histiology results, but also hoping they don’t come, because either way, it’s going to mean that Tweed loses his toe!  His feet hate him so much they are trying  to escape his body!

The thing is whatever this, well, thing is, it wants help to go away.  It is right in, or IS, the nail bed.  It can’t actually be cut away on it’s own, so if it’s goin’ down, it’s taking the toe with it. Dr. Bowra (who still has his face only because I had a death grip on Tweed’s when he took the sample) says that the sample will most likely be inconclusive.  A biopsy would require a painful surgery that is in an extremely difficult location, and if the biopsy said something bad, that would mean a second surgery (bad), so it makes more sense to do ONE surgery on a very old dog, and just remove the whole toe.

“Fortunately,” he said cheerfully, “he doesn’t need that toe.”

I disagree.  So does Tweed.  We love all of his toes, even if one is being an asshole right now.  That toe is kind of like the TWooie of toes.  It’s being a real jerk, it’s trying to run away from home and sometimes you want to beat it to death with a big stick, but you’re pretty attached to it anyway.

Right now, I feel like this:

In addition to toe-tally scary toe problems, we are having TWooie-Dexter problems.  They are the same problems we always have, except they are escalating a little.  In about a month, Dexter will be 4 years old (can you believe I have survived 4 years of Dexter Morgan-ness?).  He is finally becoming a mature dog, and as such has subsequently realized that he outweighs TWooie by 20 lbs and is like 9 feet taller than he is.  He is starting to instigate growling and ugly-face matches with TWoo, whereas previously he tried to avoid him, slinking out of the room with Mad Teeth™ lingering in the air behind him like a cartoon speech bubble.  I worry that one of these days he is going Dexter-launch at TWooie and we’ll have a full on war.

I also suspect, but cannot prove, that TWooie does not let him in the living room/kitchen after I leave for work, as the poor giraffe is beyond thirsty when I get home, and is ALWAYS under the bed.

I harbour feelings of intense guilt because I brought home TWooie when Dexter was still a puppy, and TWooie has bullied him from the get-go.  I also instilled in Dexter strict rules about not fighting with other dogs, because he’s too big, too fast and has too much temper to let that shizzat go unchecked.  Thus, he is either going to explode at TWooie with 4 years of pent-up resentment, and kill him, or TWooie is going to kick his ass and demolish his already fragile self esteem, for Dexter is nothing if not a soft, mushy little princess.

I think Dexter would be happiest without a TWoo in the house.  I think Wootie could live without his brother.  I think TWooie would crumble to dust without his fluffy orange pump-kin.  And I think there is nobody on this earth as stupid as me to live with TWooie, so I doubt I could rehome him anyway.  And I am NOT GIVING AWAY WOOTIE!!

But I think, sometimes, that I am being very unfair to Dexter to make him live with a dog he hates and fears so much.  He was here first, and he was pretty meticulously planned in joining the household.  TWooie was an accident.  And it might be, if I’m being honest, that he was also a mistake.

*sad face*

What was also a mistake was buying Piper a giant exercise ball.  She loves those things, so I went and bought her one.  I didn’t even have time to take a photo of it before it turned into this:

Wootie clearly wanted a super hero cape.

Anyway, I clearly have some things to chew on for the next little while.

Please think some “Keep Tweed Toe-Tal” vibes for my old man!


  1. Can you add a 2nd waterbowl somewhere else? Bathroom maybe? I used to help care for an older horse who was being boarded for the summer by me. About a month in we discovered that the horse he was sharing a pen with wasn’t letting him near the water unless there was a human present. He lost SO MUCH weight in that month…..

  2. i’d totally take Twooie, but that’s because I’m a sucker for insecure tricolor asshole dogs, and being most of a continent away guarantees that you’d never take me up on this fact. :P (Also, Twooie’s bad habits – eating other dogs, massive insecurity- are the kind of stuff I can deal with. OTOH, I have a chihuahua foster that I want to mail to like, Pluto. Mars is still too close. Oy. Chihuhuas, ugh.)

    Can Twooie get babygated or x-penned somewhere? Second waterbowl in the bedroom? Heck, is there a good reason not to just put a babygate up between the bedroom and living room? One of the thigns I learned with Indy (who was jsut an asshole, not so much insecure) was that making very clear boundaries cut down on his willingness to snark at other dogs- I’m not sure why, but a lot of our tension over the years came from Indy + dog he disliked in narrow spaces (hallways, doorways, etc). Divvying up space when I wasn’t present resulted in a much more peaceful house overall.

  3. Catherine says:

    Poor Tweed Toes :-(

    Dex and Twooie… no advice… just… a sympathetic “I’m sorry it sucks.”

  4. Best wishes for the toes. The baby gates idea makes sense to me to keep everyone safe when you’re not there to supervise. With less over all stress, maybe the snark level would decrease too. And after all, what’s another water bowl? Whatever route you take, I hope you can find a solution that works for all of your boys.

  5. I feel your concern about the Dexter-Twooie situation, and do hope that it will work out without major changes in your household. But, if worst comes to worst and you feel that harm might come to either Dexter or Twooie and that coexistence is just not possible, maybe, just maybe Dexter could go to a home just as loving and caring as yours, because in all his craziness, he seems to get along with people and most other dogs (with the exception of Twooie, of course). Twooie on the other hand, as you mentioned, has a very deep bond with Woo; it also seems that he needs a very special kind of person to nurture him, and that person is you! Again, I hope that things will work out safely and without heartbreak.

  6. The Food Lady says:

    I would NEVER rehome Dexter. Never ever ever. For all that he drives me CRAZY, I love him endlessly. TWoo may have a deep bond to Wootie, but Dexter has a deep bond with me, and I’d never give him up. If one of them had to go, it would have to be TWoo. I like TWooie, but I LOVE Dexter. And I’m not giving up my good dog because my bad one has “issues.”

    The babygate idea has been suggested a lot, but it’s literally not possible – I don’t have “rooms” in my house, except the bathroom. I could quite easily xpen TWooie, but that’s not a life I want to for him, and probably not a life he wants for himself either. Also, I’ve been home with the dogs all day and when I went outside to do something for less than 10 minutes and came back in, Dexter slid out from under the bed and ran to the water bowl, so I am going to have to guess my assumption was wrong, and he’s just fucking weird with a weird border collie ritual.

    The question is not so much if they will harm one another, the question is, what harm is already being caused that is not physical to either of them? Would Dexter be a more relaxed dog if he wasn’t always on guard for TWoo? Would my pack be less fractured? What would life for Dex be like if he could play with Kieren without TWoo snarking at them? etc. etc. I’m not sure why this question is so difficult to ask, and less sure why some people can’t understand the question.

  7. minabey says:

    Poor Dex. I didn’t realize he was bullied by Twooie for the longest time. Good luck on that front. And I’m wishing OTM (Old Man Tweed) a speedy recovery.

  8. Re: the water bowl thing…we had a border collie mix who would ALWAYS run right to the water bowl when we came home and drink like a freaking camel. It was like she was worried about having to pee while we were gone (no doggie door), so she wouldn’t drink unless someone was home to let her out. We never punished her when she had an accident and she never had an issue after the initial change-of-home pee-accidents. No clue why she did it, but it was pretty consistent through her 9 years with us…we walk in the door, she runs for water bowl and drinks. I just assumed she was like me, tiny bladder and knowing better than to drink if there isn’t a bathroom within a five minute locale.

  9. Have you thought about marrying Dr Bowra?

  10. The Food Lady says:

    HAHAHAHA! I suspect his wife would object. Plus he called me a “middle aged woman who will spend money on her dogs” once in a conversation with someone else, so I kind of hate him ;-P

  11. Adrienne says:

    Aw damn. When Emma cracked her tooth (carnassial) I was so sad. I knew it had to go, but it changed the silhouette of her face. It’s a melancholy thing for sure.

    Remember the video I sent you of the snarky mini Aussie, a little blue merle? We ended up bringing him home. (Don’t judge me, you have a TWooie. lol) He isn’t perfect, by far. But we have gotten him to be much more socially acceptable, both people-wise and dog-wise. And he was an obnoxious brat to my dogs and a bully. As of right now, he’s still a twit about some things but the other dogs in the house are able to live in peace.

    At any rate, I can share what we do if you like. Don’t want to go into lots of detail and throw unwanted “help” your way. :-)

  12. Riosmom says:

    I feel your pain – for Tweed’s toe and for the situation between Twooie and Dexter. For the latter, the best case might be a knock-down and drag-out fight where neither dog got seriously hurt but that cleared the air. Gracie bullied Rio until he had enough and took her down – twice. The first time, she came up wanting more but the second time came up asking for peace. So much depends on the personalities – is Twooie a wuss beneath his bluster? The worst case, of course, is one or both dogs being seriously injured and enemies for life. But it is an unhealthy situation for both dogs even w/o a fight. You used to take dogs to work with you – any chance of taking Dexter to work?

    Sending vibes for Tweed’s toe and the Twooie-Dexter situation.

  13. I know you’re stressed about Tweed, and it will suck if he has to have surgery, but I went through the same thing with my dog, and it sucked less than I thought it would in terms of pain and recovery time. The aspirate and cytology were suggestive of a benign tumor, but I went ahead with the toe amputation because it was clearly bothering him, and he WOULD NOT STOP LICKING. The final histopath came back squamous cell carcinoma, but with a very large margin, so I’m extra glad we did it. The outside toes are minimally weight bearing, so now it’s like nothing ever happened. I will cross my fingers that Tweed does not need surgery, and wish him a speedy recovery if he does!

  14. have you thought about installing a nanny cam for when you’re gone?

  15. Riosmom says:

    What a great idea Suzanne had! You could see exactly what happens when you are not there and that might give you clues as to fixing the problem – or if the problem is fixable. It would also let you see if things are escalating at home before there is a really big fight. Brilliant, Suzanne.

  16. Janice in GA says:

    Much mojo & good thoughts for Tweed. That stuff can be scary.

    And best wishes for Dexter & Twooie. I’ve lived with a couple of bitches who often snarked & sometimes fought, with the resultant vet bills. Not fun. Not at all. It finally stopped when one died. But bitches can hold grudges. Not sure about the boys doing that. :(

  17. I like the nannycam idea, too. Don’t know about the Dex/TWoo situation, but I’ll bet it would generate some great blog posts. “Look what they did today!”

    And lots of best wishes to Mr. Tweedle-Toes.

  18. interesting that we all move to solution based thinking around practical observable matter and how to keep the dogs physically safe from each other. which you already know how to do.

    but we haven’t delved into the basic welfare of having two sentient beings forced share a home, guardian, friends, etc whilst hating each other. neither can just pack up and go and they clearly don’t like each other so what harm are they doing to each other emotionally and behaviourally over the course of their lives AND the other dogs who have to live in/on the bubble of their relationship.
    i don’t envy Food Lady this dilemma. i am also not someone who is comfortable crate/rotating resident dogs. sometimes foster dogs may require that level of management but only when i screw up and take one on that makes my other dogs nervous or uncomfortable. and then they go elsewhere fast enough to make their heads spin. no one puts grimm in a corner.

    i luff tweedles and will give him a toe not full of tumourness. he can have a franken-toe which will be better than asshole-toe. just don’t ask me where i got it from. capiche?

    on a lighter note dr. B actually called me that to my face so don’t feel bad. at least you’re scary enough he didn’t say it TO you : )

  19. I agree with you, it’s not fair to Dexter :(

  20. clairesmum says:

    Tweed, best to just get rid of that pesky toe – you won’t miss the trouble it causes, I’m sure.
    No ideas of how to resolve the trouble that Twooie causes – he’s more pesky than an errant toe, but also more loveable (sometimes).

  21. Miss you. Hope everything is OK.

  22. Haven’t heard from the Food Lady and her gang in a while. Hope all is ok..

  23. No word on “Tweeds” toe./foot, sure hope that all is okay, its been a anxious long wait for news.

  24. Please check out Following Atticus on FB, Atticus just went through the same thing – had a growth, lost a toe and now is undergoing chemo. He is doing amazingly well and is back to hiking in the mountains with his human Tom. Please don’t loose hope – I am sure Tweed will do just as well without the toe!! HUGS! Hope you are doing OK…

  25. Maria Shanley says:

    Please let us know if you and the dogpack are OK! We’re getting concerned.

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